10 Facts about HIV in Women & Girls

In the United States, it is estimated that 1 in 4 people living with HIV are women. Similarly, one in four people living with HIV are unaware of their status, increasing the risk of transmitting it to others.

Share these 10 facts about HIV with the women in your life to help raise awareness of HIV in honor of National Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day on March 10th!

  1. Globally, women account for 50% of people living with HIV.
  2. HIV infection does not affect a woman’s ability to have healthy children, if that is what she desires. A child can be born HIV-free if the mother practices medication adherence during pregnancy.
  3. 1 in 4 sexually active teenagers has a sexually transmitted infection (STI). A history of STIs significantly increases your risk of HIV infection.
  4. Women have unique symptoms of HIV infections: chronic yeast infections, abnormal pap smears, pelvic inflammation, and irregular menstrual cycles.
  5. Heterosexual contact makes up an estimated 84% of HIV infection among women.
  6. African American women are at a higher risk of HIV infection. It is estimated 1 in 32 will be diagnosed with HIV within their lifetime.
  7. Women who have been sexually abused are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior that increases HIV risk, including unprotected sex, having multiple partners and sex work.
  8. Only 4 in 10 women living with HIV have the virus under control with medical treatment.
  9. Latina women are also at a higher risk for HIV infection and are more likely to be diagnosed after it has progressed to AIDS.
  10. Women have a significantly higher risk of experiencing sexual assault in their lifetime. Violence and sexual assault can increase the risk of HIV infection.

In many cases, women diagnosed with HIV were not aware of their partner’s history of unprotected sex or injection drug use.

What You Can Do

HIV is 100% preventable. In order to prevent HIV among women and girls, you can:

  • Get tested. HIV testing is FREE at UNM Truman Health Services in Albuquerque and you will know your results in less than 30 minutes.
  • Use condoms correctly and consistently. Condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV.
  • Know your partner’s status. Heterosexual intercourse is the leading cause of HIV transmission among women. Knowing your partner’s status protects both of you!
  • Talk to your girls about HIV. Young women can start having sex as early as 13. Everyone who is sexually active, no matter what gender they identify as, should be aware of how HIV is transmitted, where to get tested and the factors that increase the risk of HIV infection.
  • Fight stigma. Unfortunately, HIV still carries stigma, especially among women and girls. At UNM Truman Health Services, you can gain access to support from other women living with HIV. Our Women OUTloud support group meets on the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 5-6PM at our Albuquerque offices.

At UNM Truman Health Services, women and girls have access to the highest quality of HIV medical care, behavioral care, and complementary therapies in New Mexico. To get tested for HIV, contact us today or come by! Walk-ins are always welcome.